Home > Alcohol Matrix cell D3: Organisational functioning - medical treatment.

Drug and Alcohol Findings. (2016) Alcohol Matrix cell D3: Organisational functioning - medical treatment. London: Drug and Alcohol Findings.

PDF (Alcohol Matrix cell D3)

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The Alcohol Treatment Matrix is concerned with the treatment of alcohol-related problems among adults (another deals with drug-related problems). It maps the treatment universe and for each sub-territory (a cell) lists the most important UK-relevant research and guidance. Across the top, columns move from specific interventions through how their impacts are affected by the widening contexts of practitioners, management, the organisation, and whole local area treatment systems. Down the rows are the major intervention types implemented at these levels. Inside each cell is our pick of the most important documents relevant to the impact of that intervention type at that contextual level.  

What is this cell about? About the treatment of alcohol dependence in a medical context and/or involving medical care, typically by GPs or at alcohol treatment or psychiatric clinics. Clinical staff are responsible for medications, so the centrality of these to an intervention distinguishes it most clearly as medical. But drugs are never all there is to medical care, and are prescribed in a relapse-prevention role to only a minority of patients in Britain. Even when they are prescribed, the clinician-patient relationship influences whether drugs are taken, and is a therapeutic influence in its own right. In turn those clinicians work in a physical and social context which more or less legitimises and supports their work, generally taking the form of a service run by a distinct organisation. As well as concrete things like staff, management committees, resources, and an institutional structure, organisations have links with other organisations, histories, values, priorities, and an ethos, determining whether they offer an environment in which staff and patients/clients can maximise their potential. For these and other reasons, agencies also differ in how keenly and effectively they seek and incorporate evidence-based practices.


However, it is not easy for researchers to manipulate these qualities in order to test their effects on implementation of evidence-based practices and on outcomes for patients. Instead, observations of real-world practice look for links between organisational qualities and practice and outcomes which may derive from a causal effect of one on the other, but may be due to something else. At this distance from the preoccupation with intervention effectiveness, research is scarce, and generic sources beyond the scope of the matrices become more important. Such research as there is rarely relates specifically to medical alcohol treatment services, but we can fall back on the studies and reviews in cell D2 which deal with similar issues across alcohol treatment.

Item Type:Evidence resource
Drug Type:Alcohol
Intervention Type:AOD disorder, AOD disorder drug therapy, AOD disorder treatment method, Education and training
Source:Drug and Alcohol Findings
Date:December 2016
Publisher:Drug and Alcohol Findings
Corporate Creators:Drug and Alcohol Findings
Place of Publication:London
Subjects:B Substances > Alcohol
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care delivery
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care programme or facility
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Organisational development
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Organisational development > Workforce / staff skills and training

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